Software Defined Disaster Recovery – If You Build It, They Will Come

Post contributed by Shannon Snowden, Zerto’s Sr. Technical Marketing Architect

It is springtime and for many it’s time for baseball to begin again. I’m not a baseball fan, but I do like movies, and what we are seeing at Zerto reminds me of the tag line from the movie Field of Dreams.  “If you build it — they will come.”

An interesting thing has developed over the last couple years at Zerto. We’ve built it and they are coming. We’ve seen adoption by enterprises and cloud service providers (CSPs) of our ZVR product at an incredible rate.

The driving force behind the CSPs choosing Zerto is the fact that we offer flexibility for disaster recovery, which historically has been so bound to static hardware configurations that it made simple DR difficult and cloud-based DR prohibitively expensive. Frankly, for all the talk of DR being something that could easily move to the cloud, it wasn’t actually feasible.

Zerto’s flexibility allows service providers to host purely in-cloud customers as a managed service, a DR as a service solution, or both. In fact, just about any combination that they can come up with is perfectly acceptable as Zerto can support most solutions as long as they meet a minimum set of requirements which include having VMWare vSphere hosts and vCenters and some basic network connectivity.

The reason that this is possible is the fact that Zerto works at the hypervisor layer and does not depend on hardware. That being the case we are augmenting the idea of a Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) to include disaster recovery. We call it Software Defined Disaster Recovery (SDDR).
Comparing the levels of effort for a hardware-based solution for DR versus SDDR makes things much clearer.

Example Deployment #1 — Two Sites


For a hardware based disaster recovery solution, this simple two site deployment is difficult enough that it is normal to require on-site configuration by the hardware and  software vendors. The build time is several days to several weeks.


For SDDR, this is the simplest deployment that normally takes about an hour to install, including testing sample failovers and failbacks.

Example #2 — Multiple Sites


For a hardware-based solution, this is actually pretty impractical to deploy because of the prohibitive hardware setup, as well as initial and ongoing administrative costs.  If it were attempted, a multi-week on-site professional services engagement would be the quickest way to get it deployed and the ongoing support would be an administrative challenge.


For SDDR, this deployment is not only practical, but also pretty easily implemented. Since SDDR is totally at the software layer, pairing sites is as straightforward as ensuring that they have basic network connectivity between the sites and the correct login credentials to pair the sites. Once that is done, DR and migrations can happen between the site pairs.

CSPs have not only adopted, but have embraced Zerto Virtual Replication by deploying it into critical production environments with confidence.  They are effectively using the same mature product as our enterprise customers; only they are leveraging the multi-tenancy and resource masking capability which is already built into the product.

The Software Defined Disaster Recovery model allows CSPs to initiate their first service offering or to expand their existing services offering.  As they build out their capabilities they have seen their customer base increase and the SDDR server count rise quickly. An attractive SDDR effect is the fact that customers usually want multiple affinity groups of VMs protected at the same time. We’re seeing expansion of service offerings from over 100 CSPs who are using Zerto to power their Software Defined Disaster Recovery. But, just like at the end of the movie, what we’re seeing is just the beginning.

Want to learn more about Software Defined Disaster Recovery? Click here for our “Two Paths to Disaster Recovery” webinar replay.

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